”Jump! I’ll catch you.”
The smell of sawdust and freshly cut lumber permeated the air. Mooing of cows provided a background symphony. My father and brother were building an addition onto our barn. I was sitting on the edge of the hayloft, my eyes wide, and stubborn in my fright.
Below me stood my brother arms outstretched ready to catch me. He is 14 years older than I am, and by this time he was a strong young man and fully able to catch me and put me safely on the ground. I was afraid. I sat on the edge for several minutes. He tried to coax me into his arms, I thought about it; I started to jump and then pulled back. I thought about it some more. He was so sure, but I wasn’t. What if he missed? What if I knocked him over? What if . . . ? It was just too risky.
I never did jump. Somehow we found a way for me to climb down which took much longer, I’m sure, but it was “safe.”
God says the same thing to us sometimes, “Jump! I’ll catch you!” He is big enough and strong enough and wise enough to call all the shots, and yet sometimes we don’t trust. We wonder if God is really big enough, if He will really keep if promises. Bad things happen after all and God does allow them, what if . . .?
Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego (nicknamed Rack, Shack, and Benny by Veggie Tale lovers) were up against a situation that required them to JUMP! King Nebuchadnezzar built a statue 90 feet high and decreed that everyone had to bow down to it. Rack, Shack, and Benny couldn’t. They were good Jewish boys who loved God and wanted to obey Him. Yaweh's law said that they could bow to no one save Him. They refused to bow to Nebuchadnezzar.
King Nebuchadnezzar was not a nice man. In the past when he was displeased with people he had chopped them up into little pieces and made their houses into dung piles. Going up against this man doesn’t sound particularly appealing. Why not just bow down? They could bow on the outside and make it look good, but keep worshiping God at home, right? No, they needed to obey God. God said, “Don’t worship any image.”
Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego didn’t bow down and others noticed and reported them to the King. He was angry, in fact the Bible says he was “furious with rage” and ordered them to be thrown into a fiery furnace that had been heated seven times hotter than usual. I love Rack, Shack, and Benny’s response, “O Nebuchadnezzar, we do not need to defend ourselves before you in this matter. If we are thrown into the blazing furnace, the God we serve is able to save us from it, and he will rescue us from your hand, O king. But even if he does not, we want you to know, O king, that we will not serve your gods or worship the image of gold you have set up” (Daniel 3:16-18).
The King had them thrown in. The soldiers who threw them in were killed from the heat. Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego were thrown into the furnace and later they emerged from the fire. Alive. The Bible says, “They saw that the fire had not harmed their bodies, nor was a hair of their heads singed; their robes were not scorched, and there was no smell of fire on them” (Daniel 3:27).
Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego obeyed God. They jumped when God said to and He caught them.
In the distance you could hear the sound of waves, an ocean breeze hit our faces, the sun was hot overhead, and the screech of seagulls filled the air. Anna and I were at the playground at Harvey Cedars and her toy camera had stopped working. She asked me to fix it. Secretly I wasn’t sure I could, but hoped I wouldn’t disappoint this little 2 ½ year-old little blonde angel. I started to take the camera, but she held on. I said, “Anna, you’ll have to let go and let me take it if you want me to fix it.” Immediately she let go, and thankfully I was able to fix it.
I didn’t trust my brother to catch me. I looked for my own way out of my predicament, but I’ve always wished I’d trusted him instead. Rack, Shack, and Benny trusted God. Anna trusted me.
Job goes through loss and heartache and stress that we can only begin to imagine. In the end God says, “Who is this that darkens my counsel with words without knowledge? Brace yourself like a man; I will question you, and you shall answer me” (Job 38:2-3 NIV). Then God proceeds to remind Job through a series of questions of just who He is. He reminds Job of His power, His wisdom, His care of His creation, of His faithfulness, and His constancy. In the end, Job recognizes the sovereignty of God. He acknowledges God’s right to call all the shots.
Trust . . . are you willing to trust God? Are you willing to take the hard and difficult things of your life to God and place them in His hands? How easily we define God by how our circumstances look rather than look at the truth of who God is and seek to understand our circumstances from His perspective.Are you willing to trust God with all of the stuff of your life – big and little, painful and easy? God doesn’t fix our lives until we place all the “stuff” that troubles us in His hands.